“It was the gardener with a candlestick in the long gallery“

This place: Cragside in Northumberland is a house and garden reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel. Built on the riches of an engineer called Armstrong, who eventually became a Lord and was fiendishly inventive, he made the bulk of his fortune from weapons, sadly.

The gardens here are full of rhododendrons and there are paths everywhere to get in good walk. It was pouring when we were there, which had brought in many visitors to see the house so we went out in the wet. My trousers became two tone, light blue beneath my macintosh, and dark blue where they had wicked up the rain.

We came back later in the day to look at the house when many visitors had gone, so could see the interior without too much people clutter.

One would need several visits to take it all in.

Collections of paintings, furniture, galleries of rather brown paintings with a Turner in one corner. Kitchens as they used to be and all sorts of examples of Armstrong’s inventiveness including lights in one dining room that would have originally been powered by mercury. How? It was explained but I still don’t understand it.

Northumberland is well worth the long drive, and this place is well worth a visit.

Apparently this is where they took breakfast…

That’s a Turner in the corner

Not a day to hang out the washing.

Is that a grand shed on the roof?

What better to put on your wall than a painting of a dead shepherd boy and his dogs. This had more prominence than the Turner. Strange.

This is the man who engineered the whole thing.

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